Thursday was a day of laundry, errands, repacking the car, a
quick run and making granola with Theresa.
When Justin got home from work, he cooked a great meal of BBQ chicken
and vegetables on the grill. After
dinner, it was time to part ways… probably until next summer! By 8:00PM we were on the road, making our way
back to our camping area outside of the park.
Friday morning, we made our morning commute into The Valley,
with plans to climb El Cap Tree. Before
we were even out of the car, Alex came to the realization that she would need
to “lower-out” a section of the climb.
This was something new to her, and she was expecting to practice with
ground under her feet first. Dave didn’t
think it was a big deal, and didn’t understand why Alex was concerned about it. After back and forth discussion, and strong
emotions from Alex, they decided they would eat breakfast, and then climb the
Pine Line on El Cap instead. After Dave
led the climb, Alex jugged up it to save Dave some effort. On the large ledge at the top of the climb,
we practiced setting up the lower-out, and Alex was much happier with the
Already tired of the wind and heat that was baking us on the
granite wall; we decided to head down out of the sun. The remainder of the day involved cooking,
walking around the park, and attending a film and presentation by Ron Kauk at
the Yosemite Theatre.
Saturday, we made our way to El Cap Tree. The climb was on the base of El Cap, a bit
past Pacific Ocean, (the first climb we did in The Valley). This time, however, instead of hiking straight
up the heinous talus field (a task neither of us wanted to do again), we hiked
along the base of the cliff. This
approach was steep, still involved talus, was a bit longer… but was a bit
better than the Zodiac Talus Field.
When we found our climb, with the climb’s namesake dead at
the top of it, neither of us were very excited about it. We were sure that this was it, but it just
looked… ehhhh.... The pendulum and
lower-out were small, and looked completely avoidable, and the rest of the
climb did not look that enjoyable.
After spending some time staring at it and contemplating it, we decided
to go climb the first pitch of North American Wall. We found the climb fairly quickly, but could
not locate the anchors. This made us
wonder if we had the right spot, but some landmarks around it made it undeniable. We’ve had no problems spotting any anchors so
far, so we were wondering if this pitch did not actually have bolted anchors
(it is part of a big wall climb). The
climb looked like a blast, but not so much that it was worth losing gear
on. At this point we were hot, grumbly
that we still hadn’t climbed anything, and there was no way we did that
approach for nothing. We resigned
ourselves to doing an 11a bolted slab climb… on top-rope. Dave scurried up the side of “The Footstool”
at the base of Jersey Turnpike, and set up the anchors.
Standing at the base, Dave said “Great, just my favorite
time of climb! Nothing like 11a slab!”
This statement was laced with heavy sarcasm. Alex had the pleasure of climbing first, and
did enjoy it… though she tends to do much better than Dave with delicate,
balancey, slab climbs. Despite his grumbles,
Dave found himself enjoying the pitch as well.
Both realized they had not been climbing on small crimps in quite a
while, and by the time they were done had fingers that were sore inside and
After climbing, we retreated to the car, and decided to
drive to the Village Store to grab some from veggies for dinner. What a HUGE mistake! We landed ourselves in traffic on a one-way
park road. We literally sat in traffic
in Yosemite Valley for over 2 hours! If
we would have just walked or took a shuttle we would have been fine, but from
where we parked that morning the park hadn’t looked too busy. When they say Yosemite is the most visited
National Park in the country, it is certainly true, but sadly that also means
traffic in The Valley can be horrendous on weekends.
After sitting in traffic, we had no intent of getting right
back in it. In our hungry, grumbly
state, we decided to just get a pizza instead, and wait out the traffic. We also decided that we needed to get out of
this heat and craziness. We decided
that the next morning we would drive to Tuolumne Meadows, about 1.5 hour drive
into another area of the park. Tuolumne
sits at over 8,000 feet, so the temperatures there should be much more moderate
than the 90-100 degrees we were dealing with each day.